Air, wind, and fire

Imagine water flowing smoothly down a river. When it hits a rock, the flow of the water moves and bends, creating turbulence. Air moves in a similar fashion as it flows through a forest and encounters objects and other movement in its path — but we can’t see it. Unless something is present to help…  More 

Planting oaks: a recipe for success

Growing oak trees to maturity begins with two ingredients: viable acorns and competitive seedlings. USDA Forest Service scientist Stacy Clark wrote a cookbook to help managers with the regeneration process in healthy, productive oak forests. To regenerate an oak forest, healthy, large oak seedlings and saplings must be present in the understory before overstory trees…  More 

Long-term impact of hurricanes on forest markets and carbon storage

Hurricanes have long-term impacts on forest markets and the welfare of landowners in areas hit the hardest. They also disrupt carbon storage processes in forests. USDA Forest Service scientist Jesse Henderson recently published a study in Forest Policy and Economics that showed replanting trees after disasters like Hurricane Michael is the best way to foster…  More 

Bringing science from groundwater to surface

On May 3, 2022 the USDA Forest Service hosted a virtual Santee Experimental Forest Research Forum. More than 40 scientists, researchers, and other partners came together to discuss projects occurring on the Santee Experimental Forest. The Santee Experimental Forest is nestled in the Francis Marion National Forest 10 miles from the coast in South Carolina.…  More 

Pondberry needs light to thrive

  Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia) can tolerate deep shade and flooded soil – conditions that would kill many plants. However, the endangered shrub prefers more light and less flooding, as a team of USDA Forest Service researchers led by Ted Leininger shows. Leininger and colleagues have conducted several pondberry studies at the Flooding Research Facility on…  More 

Managed fires

Fire is a natural ecosystem process. Many land managers in the southeastern U.S. understand that prescribed burning as an essential tool for restoring and maintaining biodiversity in fire-adapted forests and grasslands. The role of wildfire, however, is less widely accepted as a means to maintain healthy, resilient ecosystems. The term wildfire implies a fire that…  More 

Focus on Joseph O’Brien

This is a new type of article focusing on the people behind the science. These articles will profile SRS employees – from different job series and locations – whose work fulfills and supports the Station’s mission. “I am intrigued by the connection between fire and its role in maintaining biodiversity,” says Joseph O’Brien, a research…  More 

Fighting future fires

Climate change threatens communities around the world with the promise of more floods, drought, extreme heat, hurricanes – and wildfire. As these events increase in frequency, they will add new pressures to the federal budget. The USDA Forest Service has already taken proactive steps to mitigate some of these impacts. The agency recently established a…  More 

Prescribed fire history affects pollinator diversity in southern forests

Landscapes with diverse fire histories – or pyrodiverse landscapes – have higher diversity of pollinators, as a recent study by USDA Forest Service scientist Michael Ulyshen shows. The study was published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Tall Timbers Research Station, the study location, is nestled in the Red Hills Ecoregion of the Coastal…  More 

Prescribed fire science: Why it’s needed now more than ever

Much of what is known about planned fire comes from a burn manager’s memory. “It takes years to get that kind of experience,” says Joseph O’Brien, fire research ecologist with the USDA Forest Service. “If things are changing, like invasive species or climate, or if you’re a new manager, you need help.” O’Brien, writing in…  More